Meet Your Beren Campus Student Government Candidates Fall 2020

By: Shayna Herszage  |  September 16, 2020

Compiled by Shayna Herszage, Managing Editor

Freshman Class Presidential candidates Leeor Benshabat and Taliah Soleymani have not submitted a photo nor bio to the YU Observer.

Beren Campus
Freshman Class Council – President 

Leeor Benshabat

Maxine Pravda
“As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled to continue my education here in the Big Apple…but not just here in NYC…here, at Stern! As excited and as eager as I am to bring to the Freshman Class and Student Council my experiences in student government, most importantly, I am eager to bring your ideas to the Student Council. As a member of student government throughout high school—including Class President, board member of the Student Faculty Administration Committee, and Vice President of Operations—I liaised between my classmates and administrators to effectuate initiatives, both academic and social. These leadership roles afforded invaluable opportunities for collaboration.

“Over the past two weeks, I have identified the need for a streamlined system through which correspondence may be disseminated. I aspire to create and implement a centralized and organized platform for information—exclusively for the Freshman Class (and each respective class)—especially given the multitude of emails/communications circulated. As Freshman Class Council President during this unprecedented time, I hope to aid in meeting the challenges associated with online courses and an online campus. And, together, foster and build community—even across our screens. Thank you for your time and support. I look forward to meeting you all in person. Stay safe and well!”

Taliah Soleymani

Sophomore Class Council – Vice President

Rebecca Aduculesi
“Hi guys!!! My name is Rebecca Aduculesi, and I’m super excited to be running for Sophomore Class VP!!! My goal is to make Stern the best possible experience for all of us, and I’m passionate about helping you in whatever way that I can. This is my first semester at Stern, and I want to do my best to make it incredible for everyone!! Whether that means planning events, planning additional learning opportunities, or just listening to what you guys have to say, I’m all in!!!”

Devorah Gurevich
“Hi! I’m Devorah Gurevich, from Cleveland, OH, and I’m really excited to be running for sophomore class council VP! This is my second year at Stern, and I’m majoring in political science. I’m passionate about creating positive change in the world, and I hope that a future in politics can help me achieve that! 

“I decided to run for VP because I believe this year can be fun and social, even online. I would love to develop cool and creative ideas for activities the sophomore class can connect through and enjoy. I can’t wait to meet everyone!”

Belina Milhem Jena
“My name is Belina Milhem Jena and I’m from Miami, Fl. This is my third semester at Stern and it’s been amazing so far. I decided to run for Sophomore VP because we are going through a very strange time and I want to ease my classmates and make it feel like we are all together on campus. I want to plan many fun things so that we can all get to know each other better and to help cope with hard times.”

Ayelet Monas
“My goal as sophomore vice president is simple. It is to enhance my fellow classmates’ experiences at Stern. As crazy and as unprecedented this year is, I know that I will be able to find ways and plan events that will bring the sophomore class together. As someone who went to a small high school, where everyone knew everyone, I understand the importance of getting to know your peers. As your vice president I plan to have many in person events—all within the guidelines of the CDC. I know we all wish we were on campus together (not that we don’t all LOVE Zoom school), but I can assure you that as sophomore vice president, I will use this crazy time, despite its challenges, to create the most enjoyable experience for you guys. I look forward to and can’t wait to be on campus and meet everyone in person.”

Katz School Class Council – President

Abigail Grigoryan
“Hi everyone! My name is Abigail and I’m from Brooklyn, NY. I’m a true freshman part of the Katz program but I plan to continue my education at Stern with a double major in Political Science and Judaic Studies. Some of you might already know me because I’m one of the co-owners of the Stern Class of 2024 account on Instagram. I’m running for Katz Class Council President because I am motivated to be someone you can rely on and I’m committed to the success of our class. Being a Baal Teshuva in a public high school, I faced an overwhelming amount of Antisemitism from students and staff, hence I chose Stern to have a sense of self and safety. The account was created to build a bridge between students from different high schools, countries, and backgrounds because every student should feel like a part of the family we have here, and I want to make sure that happens with academic events and extracurriculars. I believe that I have the ability to effectively serve as I played an avid role in my high school’s student government as senior class president. However, I don’t want to focus on what I’ve done in the past, but what I can do for you as we move forward. As President, it is not my voice that will matter but yours as I represent you to make this year the absolute best it can be. I hope you join me and I’d be thankful for your vote this Thursday.” 

Enya Smilovic
“My name is Enya Smilovic and I’m from Phoenix, AZ. It’s my second year in Stern and the Katz program and I came here after spending a year in Israel. Since I’m from a small town I know how much of a struggle it can be to make friends in a new place so my main goal as your Katz president will be to connect everyone. Being virtual doesn’t mean we can’t all form great bonds. Regardless of if school is online or in person, my presidency will make you feel like we are all together all the time. I had a hard time getting adjusted to Stern at first so I want to be here to support everyone. While also showing everyone how they can be a part of the community. My presidency will include everyone’s voice and everyone’s ideas. All in all, I will be putting the U in YU.”

Katz School Class Council – Vice President

Renee Lisbon
Hey everyone, I’m Renee Lisbon from Tampa, Florida and I am running for Katz Class Council Vice President. I am currently a true Freshman in the Katz program where I plan to graduate and continue my education at Stern College to major in political science. The  leadership and communication skills I‘ve developed throughout my involvement in political campaigns and organizations will help contribute to the role of Katz VP. As Katz Vice President, I’ll preside over the Katz President while representing and uplifting concerns and ideas  from the student body to make sure that every student’s voice is heard and to make Katz not only a program but a community!”

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Photo: Featured clockwise from top left hand corner: Maxine Pravda, Rebecca Aduculesi, Devorah Gurevich, Belina Milhem Jena, Ayelet Monas, Abigail Grigoryan, Enya Smilovic, Renee Lisbon.

Photo Source: Individual photos credited to respective candidates, compiled by Shayna Herszage on Fotor.